French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he’s counting on Pakistan to intensify its fight against terrorist groups based in the country in a speech at a Mumbai hotel attacked two years ago by Pakistani militants.
“It’s unacceptable for the world that terrorist acts should be masterminded and carried out by terrorist groups trained in Pakistan” or “harbored in its border zones,” Sarkozy said at the Oberoi-Trident Hotel on the final day of a four-day visit to India. “I am counting on all Pakistani authorities to intensify their efforts and show resolution” in opposing terrorism.
Sarkozy stiffened his comments after having said yesterday that Pakistan should fight terrorism “determinedly.” Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at yesterday’s joint briefing in New Delhi that the two leaders talked about “common concerns” including Pakistan, Afghanistan and terrorism.
The Nov. 26-29, 2008 attacks in India’s financial capital killed 166 people, including two French citizens. Among other targets were the Taj Mahal Hotel, where gunmen killed 31 guests and staff, a railway station, a Jewish center and a cafe popular with tourists and locals. The raid shattered peace talks between India and its traditional rival Pakistan that are yet to fully recover.
A court in May sentenced to death Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the only one of 10 guerrillas who arrived in Mumbai aboard a dinghy before embarking on a 60-hour rampage not to be killed in battles with police. He has since appealed the sentence.
India’s government says that the Pakistan-based militant group Laskhar-e-Taiba, whose name means “Army of the Pure” and that was formed to fight Indian rule in the divided Himalayan territory of Kashmir, ordered the attack. It broke off peace talks with the government in Islamabad.
While the nuclear-armed neighbors have agreed to rebuild ties and their leaders have met at regional summits and for bilateral talks, India says that a full return to broad-based negotiations is dependent on Pakistan closing down anti-India militant groups based on its soil. Pakistan has begun a closed-door trial of some Lashkar members.
On the last leg of his trip, Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy attended two ceremonies to honor the memory of the victims of the 2008 attacks.
Sarkozy, who travelled to India with a group of 50 business leaders, will finish his visit with a speech to French and Indian executives at a business conference.
France was India’s fifth-biggest trading partner in 2009. Trade between the two countries in the first nine months of this year was 5.3 billion euros ($7 billion).
France and India signed yesterday a $9.3 billion preliminary contract for Areva SA to build nuclear reactors. Areva and state-owned Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd. signed agreements for the construction of two reactors, the first of a series of six at Jaitapur in western India. The deals include fuel supply for 25 years, Paris-based Areva said in a statement yesterday. India plans to add 60,000 megawatts of nuclear power capacity in the next 14 years, a third of the current total output, to address power shortages.
The agreement is Areva’s biggest for so-called evolutionary pressurized reactors since the 2007 sale of two units to China. The company lost a contract in 2009 to supply four of the reactors to the United Arab Emirates, a deal eventually won by a South Korean group.
Technical aspects of the contract and price negotiations may delay a final agreement.